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Erin Burnett Outfront

President Of Belarus: Wagner Chief In Russia, Not Belarus; U.S. Expected To Send Cluster Munitions To Ukraine; Special Counsel Eyes Trump's Efforts To Undo Election In Arizona; DeSantis Campaign: $20M Raised In Second Quarter. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 06, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the mystery deepens. The president of Belarus tonight claiming Yevgeny Prigozhin who led the rebellion against Putin has returned to Russian? Where's the proof?

This as a raid of Prigozhin's house have turned off gold bars, weapons, a collection of wigs, and a giant stuffed alligator. A special report on that.

And subpoenaed tonight. The office of the Arizona secretary of state confirms to OUTFRONT they've been subpoenaed in the investigation into Trump's efforts to overturn the election. The Arizona secretary of state will be OUTFRONT.

And a story you'll see first here on OUTFRONT, a dangerous skin- rotting drug taking over the streets, leaving users with open wound and amputated limbs. It's devastating. It's across the country, and we have a special report on the tranq epidemic this hour.

Let's go OUTFRONT.


And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight the mystery deepening. Where is Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the armed rebellion against Putin?

In a rare press conference today, the president of Belarus said Yevgeny Prigozhin is not there. The head of the Wagner group who marched on Moscow had been banned to Belarus by Putin. The whole deal was go to Belarus, go there. But according to Belarus' dictator, Prigozhin is not there and he could actually be in Putin's home city.

Here is our Matthew Chance questioning President Alexander Lukashenko.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I wonder if you could provide us all with a bit of an update on the whereabouts of the Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. Is he in Belarus or not? ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO, BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In

terms of Yevgeny Prigozhin, he is in St. Petersburg or maybe this morning he would travel to Moscow or elsewhere, but he is not in the territory of Belarus now.


BURNETT: So according to Lukashenko not only is Prigozhin in Russia, St. Petersburg, Moscow, he's also a free man. Lukashenko told reporters he's even spoken to Lukashenko several times on the phone including yesterday. It's incredible in the sense of Prigozhin is usually a very visible person. Since the up rising nearly two weeks ago, though, nobody has seen him except for once on tape.

We've seen planes tied to him going across Russia, going to Belarus, going back, but that's it. No proof of his freedom, not even video proof that he's alive, which raises major questions tonight. Is Prigozhin under arrest? Where are his Wagner fighters so crucial to the Ukrainian war and is he even alive?

Well, the Kremlin tonight is doing everything it can to diminish, disparage, discredit him on state television. It's been a full court press. Images broadcast to millions showing Putin's security forces raiding Prigozhin's home, and they're showing an extensive collection of wigs, cash, gold, and weapons and even that giant stuffed alligator.

A Russian television feature program digging into the former hotdog vendor's past including why he spent nearly a decade in prison. And they're actually delving into and just discussing often accusation that Prigozhin assaulted a woman, squeezing her until she lost consciousness in order to steal her jewelry. So, this is what's on Russian state television.

And it's not the only thing dominating Russian air waves. Our exclusive conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hitting a nerve in specific way on Russian state television, enraging the propagandists with the issue of NATO.

Here they are taking issue with President Zelenskyy's plea to President Biden to expedite Ukraine's request to join NATO.

Now, Zelenskyy making his dramatic plea in English and the Russians are taking note, and they're also taking note of another major development tonight, surely at least. CNN is reporting the U.S. will send cluster munitions to Ukraine, something that is expected to be part of the new military aid package announced tomorrow.

Now, these cluster munitions would be hugely significant. They would enable Ukraine to target groups of Russian soldiers. They are, though, highly controversial, banned not by the United States -- that's important -- but they are banned by more than 100 other countries because they break apart in midair and scatter large munitions over large areas. They've been used by Russians in this war to indiscriminately kill civilians.

More on this significant development in a moment, first, though, Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT tonight in Minsk.

And, Matthew, you had a chance to question Lukashenko, a person that you alone out there have spoken to many times.


So you know his mannerism, you know his response. As much as there's any way to read him, you know it. You asked him about Prigozhin's whereabouts, and what else did he tell you?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, first of all, he said very clearly that he didn't know what was going to happen to Yevgeny Prigozhin next. Although he did raise quite alarmingly, disturbingly the possibility that Prigozhin could be assassinated, though he went on quickly to say that he did not believe that the Kremlin or that Putin would authorize that. But the very fact he sort of like suggested it as something he wanted to knock down was, you know, a little surprising to me and to the other journalists who were gathered there to have this sort of conversation with Alexander Lukashenko.

He also, you know, denied that he was preparing military bases in Belarus for the possible influx of Wagner fighters who along with Yevgeny Prigozhin had also been offered exile and sanctuary in Belarus after their armed uprising last month in Russia. That after satellite images indicated there were bases being prepared.

Now he said that Wagner fighters were also not in Belarus and were, in fact, elsewhere near the front lines in Ukraine. Take a listen.


LUKASHENKO (through translator): As far as I'm informed, as of this morning, the Wagner fighters for now stationed at their regular camps, when they go for the rotation to rest and recover from the front lines.


CHANCE: So near the front lines in Russian controlled territory whether that's in Ukraine or not, but the point is not in Belarus where the expectation was they would be located after that armed up rising -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Matthew, thank you very much.

Expectation by Ukraine as well. They've talked about stationing troops along that northern border in the event those Wagner fighters came over. So, obviously, this raising so many questions tonight. And while there are questions swirling about Prigozhin's fate more than ever after Mathew's questioning tonight Russian state media as I said disparaging and demeaning him showing a raids on his home and office. So, supposed a freeman able to go wherever he wants as they raid everything that he has.

Melissa Bell is OUTFRONT.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Weapons, cash, bars of gold, and an impressive collection of wigs, at least four presumably used as disguises. Hints of the life of the Wagner boss, a garish interior complete with an indoor swimming pool, hot tub, and a giant stuffed alligator. As well as ammunition and many, many guns.

The alleged St. Petersburg home and office of Yevgeny Prigozhin purportedly raided and displayed on Russian state television, presenters calling it scandalous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was holding a defense in his house. Look at the office. Yevgeny Prigozhin's office, flag and all. It's outrageous. Why would a man have so many guns?

BELL: Among the objects seized, several passports apparently belonging to Prigozhin using different aliases. The man himself hasn't been seen in public since his attempted coup last month. The Belarusian president and Putin ally Alexander Lukashenko who said he'd given Prigozhin refuge now claims he's gone back to Russia.

The Kremlin refused to comment, but immediately after the attempted coup, Vladimir Putin had hinted that the finances of his former ally would be investigated.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I hope nobody stole anything while all this was going on or didn't steal much. But, of course, we will deal with all of this.

BELL: According to the Russian president himself, Prigozhin's catering company had received almost $2 billion in military and government contracts. But it was Prigozhin's propaganda machine that Russian authorities targeted first, blocking media companies and websites linked to the man behind the failed putsch last week.

YEVGENY ZUBAREV, RIA FAN DIRECTOR (through translator): We are closing down and leaving the country's information space.

BELL: Yet in many ways, Prigozhin's empire may be too big to fail as the mercenary group still has a significant presence in Africa.

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): The fate of the agreements between the African countries and PMC Wagner is up to the leadership of those countries to decide.

BELL: As to the fate of Prigozhin himself, his apparent home is now empty. The giant sledgehammer that symbolized the brutal Wagner Group abandoned and its name so long lionized and feared now being erased as quickly as authorities can manage.


BELL (on camera): Erin, the question of where Yevgeny Prigozhin is now matters enormously.

[19:10:04] What we heard from Alexander Lukashenko today was that his men, the Wagner mercenaries themselves, were still at their Russian bases in the south of Russia itself. That is also important. What you hear on those images when you see the interior of Prigozhin's house is common from the anchor suggesting that this is part of a criminal investigation.

What is seized will now be part of that, and had verdict will come at some point. If indeed Prigozhin is on Russian territory, that matters because it suggests that the Kremlin may need him more than they're suggesting as part of that raid.

Erin, back to you.

BURNETT: All right. Melissa, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Bill Browder, a long-time Putin critic. He's wanted in Russia. And the retired Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges.

And I appreciate both of you very much.

Bill, so, obviously, we haven't seen Prigozhin since that armed rebellion 12 days ago. The part of the deal that was announced was he was going to Belarus. But Lukashenko says he's in St. Petersburg, maybe in Moscow, and we're seeing -- but he's a free man, he can -- he can do whatever he wants and I talked to him in the phone yesterday. Even though they've raided his houses and taken everything out of it and are, you know, humiliating him with all these wigs and everything else that they're parading around.

What is going on here, Bill?

BILL BROWDER, PUTIN CRITIC ON RUSSIA'S WANTED LIST: Well, I think, first and foremost, I mean, he's -- he's committed the cardinal sin of making Putin look weak. Putin prides himself on being a strongman dictator and Prigozhin basically put a hole -- just sliced that reputation in half by marching on Rostov.

Nobody stood in his way. They were cheering him on, taking selfies with him. Going on to Voronezh and then getting within two hours of Moscow.

He's kind of a folk hero in Russia and he makes Putin look like a very weak man. And so, what's going on right now is the Russians are in a state of apoplexy, Putin particularly, because he's been challenged. His entire sort of strongman image has been challenged.

So, Prigozhin surely doesn't want to be found right now. I can imagine if they're doing all these movies and opening these criminal cases against him, they would love to kill him if they could get their hands on him.

And so, he's probably gone underground. He's a very dangerous man. He has a whole army of mercenaries and people loyal to him.

BURNETT: Yes. BROWDER: And what we're seeing right now is probably --


BURNETT: But you think he's gone underground and he's alive in Russia?

BROWDER: Who knows? I mean, he has so many different ways that -- we saw the wigs. We saw the passports. We saw the cash.


BROWDER: There was a helicopter, you know, in his front yard.

He's got all -- I mean, this man is incredible in terms of the tools that he has to, you know, evade capture. I mean, he's -- he's the most cold-blooded killer out there, and so he's not going to just allow himself to be handcuffed and carted away to Lubyanka, the FSB prison. No, it's not -- that's not going to happen.

And so, you know, everyone says, you know, how much longer does he have to live? Well, you know, he's got all these killers on his payroll. How much longer do these guys -- the FSB, Putin himself have to live with this type of scenario playing itself out?

BURNETT: I mean, General Hodges, it is incredible and it is incredible what they're showing us, right? That, you know, he's nowhere to be found, and as they're raiding his houses and showing those wigs and those things, what does this say to you from a military perspective?

Putin says the deal is -- or we're told, right, the deal is Prigozhin goes to Belarus. Belarus says, oh, he's not here. He's in Moscow or St. Petersburg and he's completely MIA.


First of all, how can anybody seriously consider negotiations with Russia and expect that they would live up to any agreement or that they'll be transparent in any way? I mean, the circus we've been watching the last couple of weeks, tragic in that people are getting killed, but there are a lot of people that think that we should push Ukraine to negotiate with Russia. This is who you're negotiating with.

Secondly, the kind of activities that we have seen here over the last several days, including when President Putin wilted when he was pushed into a corner, he wilted and turned to Lukashenko, and they made this deal with Prigozhin, which it obviously is not turning out like everybody thought or like I thought anyhow. But that's what he did when he was put in a corner. So it did show weakness exactly as Bill said.

But also, finally, this is not what happens in an army that's confident that it's on a path to victory. So, this really reflects uncertainty and lack of confidence in the government and in the army. BURNETT: So, Bill, I want to play some more from that Lukashenko

press conference where he took all those questions from journalists and our Matthew Chance. He said he spoke to Prigozhin yesterday, and then unprompted, he said this about Prigozhin's safety.

Let me play that.


ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO, BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): What will happen to Prigozhin next? Well, everything happens in life, but if you think that Putin is so malicious and vindictive that he will kill Prigozhin tomorrow?


No, this will not happen.


BURNETT: All right. He brings it up out of the blue, so that's significant. And then he makes this claim of that will not happen.

I mean, what do you read into that statement from Lukashenko?

BROWDER: Well, first of all, all of these guys -- Lukashenko, Putin, Prigozhin -- you can't believe a word that they say. I mean, they lie through their teeth. They lie openly. So you really can't interpret anything from that.

I mean, what I would say is that, you know, this guy, Prigozhin, organized an armed rebellion to take out Putin. The normal reaction to that would be for Putin to arrest Prigozhin, bring him to Red Square, set up a guillotine and chop his head off.

The fact that he didn't do that is remarkable. The fact that they let him go somewhere, whether it's Belarus or somewhere else -- I mean, just yesterday, they were -- after -- after when he was doing his -- some raid, they -- or his rebellion, they raided his office and they seized $111 million of cash.

And then as I understand it yesterday, they returned the cash. It makes no sense.


BROWDER: And so, whatever they're saying, there's so much more to the story that we don't see on the surface.

And you alluded to it earlier in the report that he's got 17 different countries, rebellions in Africa where he's got mercenary operations, which is essentially the entire foreign policy of Russia in Africa that's under his command.

And so --


BROWDER: -- he may be just too big to take out. I don't know.

But it's -- it doesn't make any sense on the surface, and therefore, there's a lot of information that we don't know.

BURNETT: That we don't know.

BROWDER: And obviously, it's guiding their actions.

BURNETT: General Hodges, I want to ask you one thing crucial to the battlefield in addition to all of this, right, which could dramatically change all of it, and that is these cluster munitions.

CNN is reporting the U.S. is expected to announce a new military package to Ukraine which is going to finally include those cluster munitions, right? Highly controversial, banned by 100 countries, not by the United States or Russia incidentally.

They scatter small explosives around a target. So in a civilian area, it can cause unbelievable devastation.

Ukraine says they need it to hit clumps of Russian soldiers and that they've been saying this, you know, since the very beginning.

How significant is this if Ukraine gets these cluster munitions, the DPICM?

HODGES: This will be a significant capability for Ukraine when you talk about employing them against Russian trenches, particularly the Russian trenches which we've all seen do not have the overhead cover that you would expect from professional soldiers. So this kind of munition would be devastating against the Russians who are sitting in these trenches, which will help obviously with the breakthrough that Ukraine is trying to achieve.

And they're also devastating against the artillery. When the Ukrainians catch Russian artillery in a woodland somewhere, this munition will really cause problems for them.

And, fortunately, the United States has a couple millions of these rounds, and so it will help make up the deficiency in artillery ammunition. Unfortunately, it doesn't make up the deficiency in not providing the ATACMS.

BURNETT: No, it doesn't but, of course, President Zelenskyy was telling us that it would be crucial, crucial, anything, to close that artillery gap as you point out, that they just don't have enough.

All right. Thank you both so very much. I appreciate it.

And next, the office of the Arizona secretary of state confirming to OUTFRONT that they received a subpoena from the special counsel investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the election. So what do investigators want to know? The Arizona secretary of state will be my guest next. Plus, Ron DeSantis using his go-to weapon, his wife, Casey.


CASEY DESANTIS, GOVERNOR DESANTIS' WIFE: We need every mama and every grandmama in every corner of the country to stand up and fight back.


BURNETT: And a special report on tranq, the street drug that's all the rage and leaving users with open wounds, amputated limbs, destruction.



BURNETT: Tonight, the Department of Justice zeroing in on Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona. The Arizona secretary of state's office confirming to OUTFRONT that it received a subpoena from the special counsel's team which is significant development.

It comes as the former Republican House speaker in Arizona, Rusty Bowers, tells CNN he was interviewed by the FBI about two calls that he had with former President Trump after the 2020 election. The other context that's important here is we're also learning the former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey also got a call from Trump in 2020 pressuring Ducey to find fraud that would help Trump overturn the election results in the state.

Joining me now, the Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes.

And I really appreciate your time, Mr. Secretary, as we all try to understand what is happening here. You said your office has complied with two subpoenas from the special counsel Jack Smith's team. The most recent of those two in May.

Can you tell you me more about them, more about what they were asking for, and what it tells you about Smith's investigation?

ADRIAN FONTES (D), ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: The original subpoena that was received by this office came the end of last year in late December. The next one as you indicated was in May. That went to an outside law firm that had been representing this office seeking some of the same sorts of records from a cup of cases that had been filed here in Arizona. The Trump campaign versus my predecessors, then Secretary Hobbs, and Ward versus Jackson case, asking for a lot of information out of those cases, really can't get too much into what exactly they're looking for other than, you know, the specific information that they want that came out of those two cases.

And the why question, I hate to get too much into that having been a prosecutor myself.

BURNETT: Right. FONTES: I prefer to be a little bit circumspect to make sure the

investigation maintains its integrity.

BURNETT: I understand. Can I -- just to explain to me and others who may not be fully in the loop on exactly what was this Jackson case they were so curious about. Without getting into all the details they asked for, what was the core of that case?

FONTES: Well, these cases were essentially election contests.


This was the Trump campaign and some of their folks. The Ward v. Jackson was Kelli Ward who was the chair of the Republican Arizona party at the time. It was just another one of the random, various, incendiary and a frivolous lawsuits that were filed all over the United States of America, in a feeble and misguided attempt to overthrow an American election. It was just, you know, a couple of small chapters in that pathetic volume and we're glad to be participating at this stage and hopefully rendering justice out as it moves forward.

BURNETT: All right. So, just so I understand, they were asking about that specifically, but you don't know why that particular thing -- you're characterizing that particular case as similar to other frivolous lawsuits brought by the Trump campaign, but you don't know why they picked that versus another one in terms of their questioning?

FONTES: Well, I could -- I could speculate just like anybody else, but I think the crux of what is being sought here is the same as what we're seeing across the United States of America. Was there interference? Was there attempted interference? Does it amount to conspiracy across the country to overturn an election?

Were there poorly chosen attempts to, you know, influence election officials? I mean, all these things are consistent and what we're seeing here in Arizona is not inconsistent with what happened across the rest of the country.

BURNETT: Secretary, has the DOJ asked to speak with you directly or asked you to testify before the grand jury?

FONTES: No requests specifically of myself have been made, but let me remind you during the 2020 election, I was the Maricopa county recorder here in Maricopa County, Arizona, administering the election on that side. Secretary and now Governor Katie Hobbs was the secretary of state at that time. So, I didn't hold this office during the course of the 2020 election.

BURNETT: All right. And do you know whether she was involved in this or they asked her to appear? Or, yeah.

FONTES: You're going to have to ask the governor that question.

BURNETT: Yeah, all right, all right. Just want to make sure I follow up with that. All right. Well, thank you very much, secretary. Appreciate your time

and for you sharing what you were able to share with us. Thanks.

FONTES: Thank you very much, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And next, the Democrat challenging President Biden, plenty of good things to say about Trump, and the feeling is mutual.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I will say RFK Jr. who I've known not very well, but I've known for a while, and I respect.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR. (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm proud that President Trump likes me.


BURNETT: Plus, a deadly nighttime attack shattering the sense of security in a city that had managed to escape Putin's wrath until now.



BURNETT: Tonight, $20 million. That's how much money Ron DeSantis raised in the second quarter for his GOP bid for 2024. Now, I should note that half of that, close to half of that, was in the first 24 hours of launching his campaign in late May. So, that was really frontloaded. All in, it is a big number, but it still pails in comparison to former President Donald Trump who announced he raised more than $35 million in the second quarter.

And it comes as DeSantis' wife Casey is launching what she's calling her Mamas for DeSantis campaign initiative with this ad.


AD ANNOUNCER: We will not allow you to exploit their innocence to advance your agenda. We are no longer silent. We are united, and we have finally found our fighter.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not going to let you impose an agenda on our kids. We're going to stand up for our kids.

CASEY DESANTIS, WIFE OF GOVERNOR DESANTIS: We need every mama and every grandmama in every corner of the country to stand up and fight back by electing Ron DeSantis president of the United States of America.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Geoff Duncan, former Republican lieutenant governor of Georgia, Ashley Allison, the former national coalitions director for Biden-Harris 2020 campaign, and Harry Enten, our numbers expert extraordinaire.

Okay, thanks to all.

So, Geoff, $20 million is a lot of money. He raised in about six weeks in the second quarter. As I noticed, obviously, it was, you know, there was a big front load to it, but that was right after the announcement, perhaps to be expected for anyone.

But here's the thing, the polls are still pretty abysmal. Latest Fox News poll has him at 22 percent among Republicans, 34 percentage points behind Trump.

So my question to you, Jeff, is if this is what $20 million is getting GOP donors who don't like Trump, does this show that the anti-Trump Republicans have nowhere else to turn?

GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Twenty million dollars is a lot of money, so I don't want to -- I don't want to laugh at $20 million.


DUNCAN: But it's a strong second place finish. Donald Trump raised $35 million. It's going to take more than money to defeat Donald Trump. I think 20 million is going to take a bite out of it but not a big enough bite.

It's going to have to be -- Donald Trump is going to have to feel the weight of these transgressions, these lawsuits, the indictments and there's going to have to be a candidate who stands up and create some movement, a movement that quite honestly from the Republican side should be the most easily beatable presidential sitting president ever in Joe Biden.

But it takes a movement, right? Fifty thousand people showing up in a rural town in South Carolina is an actual movement. Now, it's not a movement I follow. I feel like it was probably more of a circus environment, but that's what it is, it's a movement.

BURNETT: Well, right, in which no one has been able to at this point put much of a dent into.

Ashley, meanwhile, though, on the Democratic side, there's some serious dysfunction as well. So, Robert Kennedy Jr. pulls in $6 million during the second quarter. Okay, so it's nothing close to 20. It's still -- I mean, but he's running against an incumbent president of the United States, right? So that is a lot of money in that context.

And now, I want to play a little bit more about what RFK Jr. said about Trump and vice versa. Just to highlight to everybody what kind of bizarre world you're in when RFK Jr. is polling at 20 percent among Democrats. Listen to this.


TRUMP: I will say RFK Jr. who I've known not very well but I've known for a while, and I respect him. A lot of people respect him.

KENNEDY: People who support Donald Trump feel they're regarded by the elites as deplorable people and that, you know, they're not part of our country. And I think Donald Trump made them feel that they were part of our country, they were being listened to.

TRUMP: He's a very smart guy and a good guy. He's a common sense guy and so am I.

KENNEDY: I'm proud that President Trump likes me.


BURNETT: Okay, I could have just done that, Ashley, because here's the thing and we'll see as the polls keep coming out, but we had several in a row over the past couple of months. The "I'm proud that President Trump likes me" sort of attitude is working for 20 percent of Democrats.


ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I first think there still is some name recognition working in RFK's favor. The Kennedy name is a dynasty in politics, particularly in Democratic politics.

That being said, he cannot be ignored. Now, is it time to panic for Joe Biden? I don't think so. But there is a part of the campaign that really needs to focus on those folks who just wants someone else potentially right now to see a primary, engage in the debate, see if Joe Biden is up for it.

The campaign should pay attention to it, but I don't think it's time to panic. And I think once folks know what RFK actually stands about and stands for and is excited Trump like him, folks won't want him to be the Democratic nominee and will go to Joe Biden.

BURNETT: It's going to be interesting if you start, I'm proud President Trump likes me, ads running sound bites, does that change anything or not.

All right. You've looked at the fund-raising numbers.


BURNETT: And I want to just highlight to everybody, the fundraising numbers are one of the least transparent things in American politics. You get what the campaign gives. You it's not that they're not, true but you get the detail they provide you.

So, when you look at what you're given, what do you actually see?

ENTEN: Yeah. So, you know, I like to look back through history, right, to understand, what are these fundraising numbers actually tell us? Do people who lead fundraising at this point go on to win the nomination? It turns out plenty times they do since 1980. But it's only 9 out of 15 times. So, there are many times where the fundraising leader does not go on

to win the nomination. I name one for you. Donald Trump back in 2015, right, was not even close to being the fundraising leader at this point, even well into the primary season he didn't go on to win the nomination.

So, we should take fundraising for what it is, and, you know, if we look at the Democratic side, right, you know, RFK getting that $6 million worth of donations, that is well ahead of, say, where Bill Weld was, right, who was to gadfly to Donald Trump back in the 2020 campaign.

BURNETT: Right, right, yeah.

ENTEN: So, what I'm saying here is, look, $6 million is a lot. It's not necessarily a ton, but it's more than the traditional gadfly would get. RFK Jr. is going to be around whether or not Joe Biden likes him to be around.

BURNETT: Which is -- yeah, and I should say, again, we know that a lot of that money came in the last few days, but we don't know what that means, we don't know who, we don't what, but you know amounts.

ENTEN: We had no idea who those people are.

BURNETT: Right, we don't know. But the amount -- the amount, right, that money talks in it's own sense.

So, Jeff, the PAC for former Vice President Mike Pence put out an, and this is the most direct and pointed take at Trump for a team Pence, specifically calling him out for his cozy relationship with dictators Kim Jung-un and Putin.

Here it is.


AD NARRATOR: America does not stand with thugs, and dictators. We confront. Or at least, we used to.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

MIKE PENCE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There can be no room in the leadership of the Republican Party for apologist for Putin. There can only be room for champions of freedom.


BURNETT: I mean, I just saw him in Ukraine, this is -- this is real. This is genuine. This is how he feels.

Obviously, PAC is not separate for him in some degree. But does that move the needle with Republican voters, nearly half of whom do not support more money going to Ukraine, for example?

DUNCAN: Well, when I think it's a good ad, and I think history is going to be kind to an ad in that position to be taken. I do think Mike Pence is going to have a tough time trying to explain to those voters who's trying to switch from Donald Trump to come over to his direction, and why he didn't speak up and say something while he was the vice president, right?


DUNCAN: There's an odd moment when somebody asks that question that pops up.

But, yeah, look, Mike Pence's has got to find a lane for himself. And he's really, really conservative, and he's proven that over the course of time. And so, that's a challenge for those folks on the middle and the pathway to the White House is the middle.

We can talk about all of this winning your base, but the middle is where this is going to be won. And the middle cares about the stock market crashing, the middle cares about their jobs being cut, the middle cares about a war in Europe that is unexplainable.


DUNCAN: The middle is the pathway to the White House.

BURNETT: And where do voters stand on these -- you know, this is crucial, you stand up to dictators, stand up to Putin, believe in Ukraine. That's what he's saying.

ENTEN: Yeah. You know, among Republicans, look, nobody likes Vladimir Putin, we should be clear on that. The polling numbers show that.

BURNETT: Trump, of course, used to like him a lot, him saying.

ENTEN: Sure, but most Republican voters don't. But that being said, they don't want more money given to Ukraine, that's what Republican voters -- look at that. The U.S. is giving too much to Ukraine, 56 percent.

But here's the other thing which Geoff was sort of getting at. Do you know how many voters really care about the Russia-Ukraine issue among Republicans? One percent said it was their top issue in terms of determining their 2024 primary vote.

This might be a good ad, but it's not an ad that voters care about.

BURNETT: And I should say, by the way, when you say people who are going to take the other side on -- the opposite side of Pence, RFK Jr., talk about people who have said Putin has a point.

ALLISON: That's right. And potentially Donald Trump as well, and Mike Pence when he was the vice president, which is why it's going to be hard for him to really draw a line and distance himself from Trump in the long run.

BURNETT: All right. All, thank you.


And next new video into OUTFRONT of the devastating strike that left Putin's men scrambling for their lives.

Plus, a special report on a deadly street drug tranq, that's leaving an alarming number of users motionless, covered in wounds.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tranq, it gets into your bloodstream, and eats at your skin.



BURNETT: Tonight, new video into OUTFRONT of fierce fighting on the front lines in eastern Ukraine. This is from Luhansk, which has been under heavy Russian assault. Russian tanks seen taking fire from Ukrainian artillery in this particular video. One of the tanks takes a direct hit.

The Ukrainians say that it was destroyed, but do you see soldiers fleeing the tank on foot. And it comes, obviously, this is eastern Ukraine, hundreds of miles from the front lines is a sense of the safety in Western Ukraine has been shattered.

Ben Wedeman is OUTFRONT.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even away from the front lines, nowhere in Ukraine is safe. This is the aftermath of a Russian attack in the western city of Lviv. A cruise missile struck a residential building overnight, Thursday. Ages of the victims ranged from 21 to 95, including a World War II survivor.


Authorities are calling it the most devastating attack on civilians in Lviv since the war began.

The Russians say they are bombing military objects, but they hit a peaceful house, people were sleeping, says this Lviv resident Vera Luvin (ph). How could they do it? World, help us.

The nighttime attack smashed the roof from top floors of an apartment building, and damaged several others. Ukraine says the attack was carried out by a Russian Kalibr missile, a long range, hypersonic missile that carries a payload of 1,000 pounds of high explosives. Kalibr missiles are extremely accurate, and have been used frequently in Russian attacks on Ukraine.

Emergency workers and firefighters have been removing chunks of rubble from the blast site and have evacuated over 60 people so far. Standing atop the damaged buildings, they continue to sift through the rubble for any sign of life or death.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs says as many as 10 bomb shelters were locked shot in Lviv when the attack happened. And investigation is ongoing to understand why.

But considering the city's relative safety, the strike was probably a shot for many. In the early days of the war, the city served as a refuge for tens of thousands of Ukrainians, fleeing Russian attacks. Given its proximity to the borders of Poland, a NATO member, many hoped they would be safer there.

But as rescuers continue to clear the rubble and repair the damage, it is clear, no place here is beyond Russia's reach.


WEDEMAN (on camera): Also today, President Zelenskyy speaking at a press conference in Bulgaria revealed that Ukraine does not know the whereabouts of 200,000 children missing since the start of the full scale invasion. Moscow has been accused of forcibly deporting Ukrainian children from occupied territories to Russia. And in March, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants against President Putin and his commissioner for children's rights, Maria Belova, for their responsibility in those forced deportations -- Erin.

BURNETT: Ben, thank you very much. Two hundred thousand children, something to think about in a moment.

Well, next, we have a special report on that disturbing rise of a street drug. It is devastating and this country now, eating away at the flesh of its users, leaving people in zombie like stupors. And that problem is now nationwide.



BURNETT: Tonight, California Governor Gavin Newsom ramping up efforts to combat the rising threat of the street drug code tranq. As governors on the East Coast tonight are grappling with the astronomical rise in popularity of what is a sedative design for animals, for veterinary use. Tranq is known for rotting user's skin, leaving to festering wounds, amputations. It is approved for by the FDA for veterinarians, just for pets.

But it's now being detected in more than 11 percent of all fentanyl related overdoses, overdoses which are up nearly 300 percent over the past three years according to the CDC. The video here shows a shocking impact.

You see the pain, what happens on city streets, now, across this country.

Danny Freeman is OUTFRONT in Philadelphia, ground zero in the fight against tranq.


JIMMY GOLDEN, TRANQ USER: I've been using all my life.

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jimmy Golden (ph) doesn't remember when tranq he started showing up and Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood.

GOLDEN: I call it the drug that bites.

FREEMAN: You call tranq the drug that bites.

But he can't forget the impact it's left.

GOLDEN: A lot of people out here are losing limbs. Tranq, it gets into your bloodstream and it's at your skin.

FREEMAN: In recent years, the animal tranquilizer called Xylazine also known as tranq, has found its way into an exploding opioid crisis, in part because of its low-cost. Illegal fentanyl or heroin sold on the street here in Philadelphia is frequently cut with Xylazine. Xylazine can provide a longer high and mimic the high of heroin or fentanyl, but users don't always intentionally seek it out.

The drug is not approved for human use. It causes open necrotic wounds and often leaves users motionless.

What does it feel like when you're on tranq?

GOLDEN: I don't know, because it passes you up.

FREEMAN: Oh, really, it passes -- knocks you up almost immediately.


FREEMAN: Here in Philadelphia, tranq was found in 90 percent of dope samples in 2021. And it's making a difficult problem even worse.

MEGAN COHEN, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE GRACE PROJECT: It's not an opiate. So people are having their opiate withdrawals as well as withdrawing from xylazine being in the drug supply. Why don't we maybe move the plates over a little bit?

FREEMAN: Megan Cohen used to be addicted to heroin here in Kensington. Now sober, Megan leads a group of volunteers to support those suffering from addiction with food, resources, and more frequently, wound care.

DR. TRISTAN MARCELIS, THE GRACE PROJECT VOLUNTEER: If it's severe, sometimes we have to do surgery. Most of the time folks need antibiotics or they need to be admitted to the hospital.

FREEMAN: But this problem is not isolated to the small section of Philadelphia.

COHEN: It's easy to see this problem here because it's so concentrated. So people are so drawn to Kensington to talk about xylazine. The reality is it's every place.

FREEMAN: Statewide, in 2018, xylazine contributed to 51 overdose deaths, all just in a handful of counties near Philly. By 2022, xylazine contributed to nearly 650 overdose deaths across more than 35 counties.

GOV. JOSH SHAPIRO (D), PENNSYLVANIA: We're seeing it present all across this commonwealth. And that's why we took action.

Xylazine --

FREEMAN: Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro's administration addressed xylazine, categorizing the tranquilizer as a controlled substance in its illicit form.


SHAPIRO: It allowed the substance to be controlled. It allowed law enforcement to have greater tools to try and stop the flow of it on to our streets, and hopefully it will allow us to save some lives.

FREEMAN: We've been speaking to some advocates on the ground who have said to me fentanyl is illegal. Heroin is illegal, and yet people are still dying from those drugs.

SHAPIRO: Danny, I was the attorney general before becoming governor. And as attorney general, I arrested 8,500 drug dealers across our commonwealth. That had an impact on our streets. But I was the first one to say you can't arrest your way out of this crisis. You have to take a multidisciplinary approach.

FREEMAN: Megan says while the government is starting to catch up, it is still behind when it comes to understanding and treating the impacts of tranq.

COHEN: These are human beings, and they need help. There is no big warning that went out and said hey, xylazine is going to come into your drug supply and this is the effect it's going to have.

They're already using and here we are. People are losing limbs. A lot needs to change and we need to stay up with the times.

FREEMAN: Do you think that the government can stop tranq from getting on the streets here?

GOLDEN: I mean, if they stop, there is going to be something to follow on. It's not going to stop.


FREEMAN: And, Erin, I just want to emphasize the challenges of treating someone who is experiencing an overdose involving tranq. Remember, tranq is almost always mixed with an opiate. So, health professionals recommend using Narcan and naloxone because they can actually reverse an opioid overdose. But tranq itself is not an opiate. So, the more tranq there is in the

dope, the less effective Narcan is, and there is not a simple way yet of treating a tranq overdose -- Erin.

BURNETT: Danny, thank you very much. Deeply disturbing, but important to know.

And coming up on "AC360," why lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene was voted out of the Freedom Caucus by her own. That's next.

And next here, a first look at CNN's newest original series that celebrates the people behind what's being called the golden age of Black TV.


BURNETT: And finally tonight, Black artists have been fighting for decades to be seen and heard on television, and that struggle has now set the stage for what we're seeing today on TV and what some are even calling the golden age of Black TV. From the Jeffersons to Family Matters, Fresh Print to Martin, a new CNN original series looks at iconic Black television and its impact on America.

Don't miss "SEE IT LOUD: THE HISTORY OF BLACK TELEVISION," and that debuts here Sunday at 9:00.

Thanks so much for joining us.

Anderson starts now.